Lemon Law

What is the Lemon Law?

The real name of the lemon law is the Consumer Warranty Act. It governs the warranty. The Lemon Law requires the manufacturer to repair your vehicle within a "reasonable number of attempts" or refund your money if they don't. That means you have to give them an opportunity to repair it.

When you take the car in for repair all you really need to say is;

"Here's the car. This is the problem. Please fix it."

Always be courteous. Don't talk lawyers or lemon Law with the dealer. It does not help, and will make it harder to get repairs or paperwork.

Paperwork is very important in these cases, so make sure that you keep all of your
1) purchase documents, and
2) all of your repair orders.

DON'T keep them in the car, because they may disappear.

The Lemon Law applies to vehicles registered with the DMV for use on the road, including cars, trucks, motorcycles, and motorhomes. It includes personal vehicles, and covers vehicles registered to small businesses, up to a total of 6 vehicles.

Some components have longer coverage, like the engine and drivetrain, and some have less coverage, like tires and brakes. Check your warranty book. Problems that arise within the warranty period may fall within the Lemon Law even if the car is now out of warranty.

What qualifies as a "Lemon"?

The Lemon Law requires that the vehicle has a "non conformity to warranty" thatsubstantially impairs the use, value, or safety of the vehicle to the buyer.

The #1 Myth

It is not necessary to have a certain number of repairs within the first year or first 18,000 miles, no matter what you may have heard.

The Consumer's Obligation

The manufacturer must be given a reasonable opportunity to make the repairs.

Do-it-yourself Arbitration

You should not try to do-it-yourself. The manufacturers and the arbitrators they hire have done this thousands of times over the years. You have probably never done anything like this yourself. Arbitration is a rigged game. It is run by the manufacturers, for the manufacturers.

What is covered?

The Lemon Law applies to any vehicle with a warranty. The Lemon Law even applies to used vehicles that come with a warranty from the Dealer.

What You Recover

If the vehicle is a lemon, the consumer is entitled to recover the money he or she put into the vehicle.

The Manufacturer's Obligation

The problem must be a substantial one in order to qualify. It must be one that significantly impairs the use, value, or safety of the vehicle.

Keep Your Repair Orders

If you think you may a lemon, be sure to keep good records. When you take the vehicle in to the dealer, tell them specifically what the problem is and describe it in detail.

Who pays the fee?

The Lemon Law is a "fee shifting" statute.

Protect Your Rights

The lemon law requirements are very technical, and the assistance of a lawyer is important to protect your rights.

San Diego Lemon Law Center | The Law Office of Michael E. Lindsey
Tel: (858) 270-7000 Fax: (858) 270-7710 | 4455 Morena Blvd., Ste. 207 San Diego, CA, 92117 (see map)

General Information Only

The information in the San Diego Lemon Law Center pages is for general information only and is not intended to be taken as legal advice. If you have a specific legal question or problem, please feel free to contact us or you should promptly consult with an Attorney handling such matters in your area for advice.